Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Day

New Day was one of my favorite choral songs back in high school. I've been singing it all day! Today really has been a new day...let me back up and explain...

Well, it's been a long week, or two or three, I've lost count now. Grandma and I had a very hard first week of her recovery. Spirits were low, outlook was dim, fever was high, energy nil...a week and a half after her discharge, on a Sunday morning, I took her back in to the hospital around 4:30am...on the way I hit a deer and she hit the dashboard with her nose. (not wearing a seat belt cause of her incision.) I didn't even stop...Anyway we went in and they almost sent her home since her 101 temp had lowered to 98.4. I almost begged, since I had just given her Tylenol to control it and so they took blood samples. Getting some results back abnormal (kidney, liver, white blood cells all at dangerous levels) they decided to try a cat scan. I watched her try to drink this nasty stuff that's supposed to light her insides up like a Christmas tree and try to keep it down. She puked in the machine anyway and they had a lot of clean up before actually getting the pictures, besides the fact that her fever was back by then (4hrs on the dot like I told them it would) and she was shaking and teeth chattering so bad I was shocked any pictures turned out! The Doc said he would be back in ten mins to let us know the results and ten dragged into 50 and then 60 and then at 75 mins (oh and she is puking every 5 mins or so) he comes back and says he is admitting her for an abscess that needs to be drained asap.

It is comforting to know that something was wrong because I started wondering if I was crazy, if I was over reacting. I was already not happy with the way they were brushing off her concerns and pains and fevers the week before, besides sending her home without antibiotics, eating solids or having a bm...I felt alone and ignored and almost vindicated with this last turn of events...not that I was happy she was back in the ER with another scary scenario. I went home around 2:30 in the afternoon and driving by Mary Lou's I decided to stop. She invited me in and started feeding me and I started talking for the first time all week...I'd really kept my mouth shut for a week, afraid to cry, afraid to yell, really not knowing what to say and once I started I couldn't stop. I ate so much and talked myself dry after 3 hours and went home to fall into bed...but the phone started ringing. I'm glad Mary Lou got me started, it helped me process a ton before family started calling. (Really Doctors speak Greek to me!) I also got a very upsetting call from Cherie about my pets so I was determined to head to Bend while grandma was in the hospital to bring them home to Brownsville.

Monday I went to check on grandma and visit another nursing home (we are trying to find an AFFORDABLE alternative to the one grandpa is in) and things went from bad to worse. The machine they needed to drain the abscess was in Corvallis and broke down. They were having a hard time controlling the fever and she wasn't keeping any fluids down, not having eaten in a week she was very low on everything nutritional...in went a nutrition pic line. I couldn't sit there and watch, they didn't want to transfer her out of the Samaritan Hospital system to try a different machine, the nurse told my dad I was overreacting so I decided it was time to leave...of course I had to stop at Wal Mart for a couple items grandpa needed and dropped them off. The head nurse caught me and talked for me for two and a half hours. Grandpa had taken a bad fall with his walker and they were concerned about how to get him up and moving his artificial hip and lessening the fall risk factor. Then they went over the fact that they had heard through their sister facility that we were calling around looking for another facility and were concerned we weren't happy. Plus they had a bunch of good dementia material to give me. So by the time I left for Bend the sun was casting an orangy glow on everything and I knew it was going to be a long night. Exhausted I picked up the animals around 9pm and headed south to Klamath Falls to spend the night with Cindy King. It was so good to see her and even though I arrived at 11:30pm she had Thai food waiting for me. I slept in and stayed in bed till she got home at 5:30pm. (minus two walks to the store) We ate at the local brew house and spent another night.

I hated to leave that morning, but I thought I had better get back to my duties at home. The corn and flower beds needed watered and grandma's pets needed fed and the carpets needed cleaned before she got home. I know Aunty Carol was supposed to be holding down the fort while I was gone but I felt rested and ready to go back. I arrived at the house to find carpet cleaners just leaving and Carol and Jerry smiling saying "Great! It's all yours! Vacuum the carpets when they are dry and put the furniture back before grandma gets home." And they were gone. I found out that the radiologists machine had been broken for Monday and Tuesday and they couldn't get her in till Wednesday and Mary Lou had heard me mention I wanted to clean carpets during my Sunday Chat so she called and had cleaners come Wednesday...it was CRAZY!! Lucky Mary Lou had picked up Angel the dog (Gracie is good at fending for herself). It had been in the 90's for the two days I was gone and the corn hadn't been watered because of a hose mix up and the flowers looked burnt...it was all I could do to put the place back together (and trim all the bushes and trees) before grandma came home on Friday.

Saturday and Sunday we both crashed, lots of sleeping in, lots of naps and to my pleasant surprise, lots of eating...she was finally keeping down food! Monday she was feeling better. We had a doctors appointment in the morning to remove the drain tubes, made our trip to Wal Mart (can't go to Lebanon and not stop!) and then went and visited Grandpa. He still thinks Grandma is his mom and today thought I was his wife...he is really confused. He is always really glad to see us just not sure who we are. He keeps trying to give Missy the Mustang too (I think she is getting the better end of the deal in all this confusion!) I did get permission to bring Buddy the next day. We arrived home to find that the phones were off the hook and nothing, NOTHING I could do would make them work!

Mary Lou to the rescue called the phone company and gave me instructions how to fix the problem (reboot, duh Jen!) So, today (after fixing the phone saga) we went to Wal Mart to change the battery in my truck and pick up sinus meds (yes I'm fighting my 3rd sinus infection this summer) and then took Buddy to the nursing home. He laid his head on little old ladies laps while they exclaimed over him. He put his paws up in grandpas lap and I was so glad he didn't do that to anyone else!!! We took him outside and grandpa and another client threw the ball for him for 2 hours! I'm so glad Granddaddy taught him to put the ball in his lap right where he could reach it easily...it helped everyone really enjoy his company and be able to join in the tossing even if it was just straight at his nose (which he caught of course). About the time Buddy wore out, it was time to go back to the hospital to remove the pic line. After that we headed home and I made carrot soup.

It was SUCH a good day!

Oh! And I almost forgot! Tomorrow Coleen, Brenna, Beth, Tawni, Barb, and Nana and I are going to open the final proof of my book...(drum roll please!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Not What I Expected...

Well here I am in Brownsville Oregon. Aunty Barbie stopped by to visit me and encouraged me to update my blog with all that has transpired in the last 3 weeks since I got home. She says she keeps checking it to see what I'm up to and if there are others this might be an easy way to keep people up to date. So here I am, not sure if there are readers, but this ones for you Barb and Gary!!! So much has happened since I got home but none of it was what I expected. I spent the first week working very little and sleeping a ton. I went to Bend and visited Cherie, Ricki, Buddy and Wasabi but since I still haven't found a place to live I had to leave them there. We had an amazing couple of hot days there and Cherie and I and the dogs hit the reservoir for a wonderful swim. Buddy still afraid of the water explored the shore line and Ricki spent most of her time swimming in circles chasing her tail and fetching a ball. Then next day Cherie and I left the dogs home and floated the Deschutes River...AWESOME!!! I hated to leave but I headed back to Portland. I was finally getting over jet lag and realized that I needed to clean up my rooms (both aunts spare bedrooms) and pack for Alaska when I got the call that Grandma Morris was in the hospital. For a week I drove back and forth between Portland and Brownsville, working, visiting Grandma, helping Uncle Bill take care of Grandpa and the gardens and keeping everyone fed and help Melissa find a nursing home for Grandpa. The day before Grandma came home, we found a place for Grandpa. I brought Grandma home canceled my ticket home and 3 days later Bill and Sharon went home. Margaret and Zach showed up that day and helped me clean all the windows inside and out and clean up the flower beds. The week Grandma was in the hospital it was above 100 degrees and fried a bunch of the flowers, tons of dead heading kept us busy and in the sun. (she picked a perfect week to leaver her house with no AC!) To back up a little, Grandma took Grandpa and Gunner and Angel to the beach, lost Gunner, lost the keys to the car, lost Gunners shoes...eventually found all three lost items and headed home. Melissa picked up Gunner and about the time she arrived home Grandma called and asked her to come back and figure out what was wrong with her. She had sat down with a stitch in her side which had a turned into a sharp pain in her gut and couldn't get up off the couch. Melissa took her to the hospital where the doctor asked her what she thought was wrong. Grandma said she thought it was appendicitis so the tests started. He came back saying good news it's not appendicitis but bad news it was worse and as soon as his team arrived they would be putting her under for emergency surgery on a perforated intestine. She was going septic and they had to take all her "stuff" out wash it and put it back. As you can imagine, anything that comes out of a box never goes back in the same way and her biggest complaint is "it just doesn't feel like he put it all back in in the right place!" Grandpa is really confused and his story changes all the time. The most disturbing part is he doesn't recognize Grandma, he thinks she is his mother Merrill. Anyway, starting Monday this week, it was just Grandma and me. Food isn't sitting well in her stomach still so food is interesting. This week: The corn has grown taller than me and watering the garden takes almost 2 hours each night. The deer are eating the zucchini plants that aren't in the dog run (grr!) I have transplanted many baby plants around the house inside and out (we'll see if they make it!). We have run around town shopping, visiting the doctor and Grandpa. We have cleaned out the fridge (trust me that was a big job...expired 2007??? I'm so glad I move a lot!). We have canned 20 lbs of green beans, put up zucchini and tried to figure out what to do with Grandpa...

For myself I have read 3 books and have a couple more checked out from the library. Started knitting again. Walked Angel every morning. Finished approving the graphic design part of "Granddaddy's Hands." And slept in EVERY DAY! Oh and officially caught up on my blog :)

Things left to do? Clean carpets. Go through closets. Clean out Pantry (both!) Go through and clean out meds. Figure out finances and Grandpas future. Paint living room pink???

Grandma is frustrated at her slow recovery. She is only 14 days from going under the knife and 7 days from arriving home. The Doctor said it takes a young sprite 6-8 weeks to get back to normal. She is doing great and now I know where I get my shear determination and stubborn streak (and my habit of being way to hard on myself!) Grandpa is doing great too, the home is very good to him and he is doing well even though his memory is worse. Uncle Bill tells the funniest stories about Grandpa in the nursing home...wish I would have wrote them down while they were still fresh. I have two more weeks without work after this weekend. I am wishing I had my animals with me, other than that, I'm getting rested up but frustrated at my limitations as a grandchild. I'm enjoying the down time and the special moments hugging my Grandma when she needs it and making memories...more later :)